I saw something recently when looking at individual number splits that excited me, everyone, and yes that means an entire post about my mind wanderings following the discovery.
That discovery was that DeAndre Jordan is currently shooting 63.3% from the foul line since the All-Star break. His numbers (and part of this is because he’s playing fewer minutes than he was pre-ASW) in general are down, in terms of points, rebounds, and indeed free throw attempts per game. Never the less, the free throw shooting discovery has raised my spirits greatly. However, I think we can all agree that we would take 50% free throw shooting from DeAndre forever if it meant Blake’s jumper and free throw shooting would make a jump even to around league average in regards to the J and 65% at the line (segue alert).
Instead of improvement, Blake’s free throw shooting post-ASW has fallen 2.5% from 53.9% down to 51.5%, which of course is way worse than his work at the line from last season (64.2%). One possible explanation — perhaps there is a magic vortex of bad foul shooting that hovers near the power forward position for the Clippers. Further evidence for this vortext is Kenyon Martin (a 63.5% career foul shooter), who is shooting 36% from the foul line. Hopefully that takes the sting off Blake’s regression a bit, by comparison.
There is some good Blake news — he’s shooting about 35% on 16 ft-3P jumpers, up from last season’s 33.5%. (via basketball-reference). But we can delve a bit deeper than that, gang: via Synergy Sports Technology, Blake is shooting 34.2% on unguarded catch-and-shoot jumpers, and 40% on guarded catch-and-shoot jumpers. So that’s confusing. Last season he shot 22.7% (44 FGAs) on guarded catch-and-shoots and 40% when unguarded (85 FGA) (129 total jumpers).
But wait, I will explain that weird “Shooting A Higher Percentage When Being Contested” thing — he has attempted very few contested CaSJs to more than 100 unguarded CaSJs. That small sample of contested jumpers means that 40% is probably not a good example of his shooting prowess. However, the “40% last season on uncontested jumpers vs. 34.2% this season in a similar sample” thing is a bit frightening, just like the regressed free throw shooting. I have no idea why this regression is a thing, but it’s frustrating and making me a bit sad. Never the less (and guarded or not), Blake’s overall mid-range shooting has improved since last season. In fact, in the last 10 games, Blake is shooting almost 49% on mid-range jumpers. That is excellent news for the Clippers’ offensive spacing.